I started this Blog after being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2010. It was a way of keeping family and friends informed. It then became a campaigning tool helping to make improvements in hospitals nationally. In 2013 we moved to Johannesburg, setting up our own e-education company. Now we have moved to Bangkok, a great base to explore SE Asia. After surgery 7 years ago my PSA remains at zero, the cancer is still undetectable, and I remain thankful.
Think Africa, think UK, I bet you think it's a bit backward over here, don't you? How wrong could you be! I can't think of anything in a Johannesburg supermarket that is not way, way ahead of that in the United Kingdom. Why do they call it 'United'?
Let's take it from arriving in the car park… There are attendants everywhere, directing you to a parking place, greeting you and pointing you the right way. Those same people are waiting for you to appear later so they can guide you to your car, help you unload your shopping and then take your trolley away. They then rush back, guide you out of the parking place and we usually give a small tip, 3 Rand (20p) is customary.
Once inside, you are greeted and you soon get used to the vast amount of staff, falling over themselves to help you. You don't have to find someone to help you, just stand there and look puzzled. Within seconds you will be noticed and you will be helped! I was carrying 3 items because Beverley had gone ahead with the trolley (she often does), this was immediately picked up on and a young assistant rushed over and offered to carry the items for me.
The meat section is beyond belief, you can buy anything up to and including a whole sheep, pig or cow, and yes, they wheel those through the check-out! In the UK when you cook the meat, especially bacon, see all that scummy watery stuff that floats out; not here. The chickens in the UK freezers are all the same weight, go check. That's because they are injected with water and other chemicals to become a standard size. Here, all chickens are a different weight, bloody obvious when you think about it! Vegetables and fruit,
I can't keep up with, there's so many I don't even recognise. If you've ever been on holiday to France, you'll know how good the shops are there. Multiply that by 3 and you're somewhere close.
Everything is half price or less than the UK, yes, everything without exception! At the entrance, you scan your loyalty card, a screen comes up with today's promotions on. You see what they are and if you might be going to purchase any of them, you print your money off voucher there and then. Not like in the UK where you forget the vouchers you recieved in the post so they tell you how sorry they are (not) but you should have brought them with you!
At the till, they always pack your bags for you, if you can't manage them they will help you to your car. There are always about 20 to 30 check-outs but only one queue, directed by a single person who tells you which check out is free next, so never a wait.
Get this…Wine is on sale in the supermarket BUT spirits and beer are NOT! They are served in a separate shop beside the supermarket. Why? Wine is considered a civilised dinner accompaniment, even if you drink 12 bottles of it. Beer and spirits are more of a 'rough image' product, you go in those shops at the risk of bumping into people who are more accustomed to the evil drug, that is alcohol!
Wine ranges in price from around £1 a bottle up to the very expensive nearly £6 a bottle.
The barbed wire around this drink is real, what a sales gimmick!
We tend to go for the very acceptable £2.50 range which is top notch. We started buying 5 litre boxes because at £6 you had the wine supply for the week, but then there's the tendency to have 'just another', and after a while we just couldn't cope! A litre bottle of Gordon's Gin cost us £7 today, whilst stocking up for Christmas, and the same with Famous Grouse whiskey. Why don't you riot UK? You are being screwed into the ground! Seriously, how much more will you take of this?
Saw Alison Moyet in concert last night at the 'Emperor's Palace', a fair attempt to copy 'Cesar's Palace' in Las Vegas. She looked better than she did 20 years ago and sang just as well. Beverley and I ended up dancing next to the stage in front of around 10,000 mainly white South Africans. I still don't fully understand the black / white thing yet, I'll try and get a better handle on it and explain with a bit more knowledge later.
Supermarket entrance in Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela's funeral tomorrow and the heavens have opened with a severe thunderstorm over Johannesburg right now. Every shop, supermarket, garage and office seems to have a book of remembrance to sign and flowers and candles surrounding it, with a promise to pass this on to his family; I hope they have a very big warehouse! If there ever was a man on earth who was close to God, it was certainly Madiba, the father of this nation, and I hope they can get by without him.